Maple Valley residents will be able to welcome a new business to Four Corners in about a year as Panera Bread Co. plans to open a new location there.
Kevin Bedows, joint venture partner for Panera for this region, said the company is in the process of finalizing the details for the new store in Four Corners Square.
“We’ll be the one closest to the fire station,” Bedows said. “We’re going to be in that shopping area.”
The Maple Valley store will have a feature not found in other nearby stores, a drive through, something the locations in Issaquah and Southcenter do not have.
“When we looked at Maple Valley, it’s this great, growing community,” Bedows said. “As we looked to expand, we’ve got 23 locations in the Seattle area … we wanted to look at the area that fits what we’re looking for. Part of it is just getting into a location. Sometime’s there’s spots we want to be, but, there’s just no space.”
Bedows said that right now the planning is still in the early stages. Opening the Maple Valley location would be some time between the end of this year and spring of 2015, at the latest.
Once the developer tells Panera the pad is ready, Bedows said, work will begin to get the spot open for business.
Four Corners Square, which is owned by Indianopolis-based Kite Realty, has redeveloped in the past year. Johnson’s Hardware moved into a new store on one end of the new building on the west side of Maple Valley Highway while Grocery Outlet is on the other end. In recent months Subway, Taco del Mar and Yeti Yogurt opened up in the middle of the new building. A handful of spots remain while an Auto Zone store is planning for an outbuilding, according to a site plan for the development on Kite’s website.
In the meantime, Walgreens is under construction where Johnson’s was previously located, with the possibility of it opening in the first quarter of this year.
All these new businesses brought more jobs to the city. Bedows said that a typical Panera store employs 30 to 50 people.
Bedows explained that Panera wants to offer quality meals to customers and be part of the community.
“We donate all of our bakery products at the end of the night (to nonprofits such as food banks),” Bedows said. “We do fundraising. We want to be part of the community, not just a business that is there.”